Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The #22 Guitarist of the Rock Era: Paco de Lucia

Throughout his career, this great guitarist at #22 has advanced the boundaries and technique of his instrument:
#22:  Paco de Lucia
55 years as an active guitarist

Francisco Gustavo Sanchez Gomez was born in Algeciras, Cadiz, Spain on December 21, 1947.  He is a virtuso flamenco guitarist and composer who is considered by many to be one of the top guitarists in the world and the greatest guitarist ever of the flamenco genre.  De Lucia has recently crossed over into classical and jazz.

Paco, as he is now known, was the son of flamenco guitarist Antonio Sanchez and the brother of both flamenco guitarist Ramon de Algeciras and flamenco singer Pepe de Lucia.  Paco adopted his stage name in honor of his Portugese mother, Luzia Gomes.  Antonio introduced Francisco to the guitar at a very young age and was very strict, requiring him to practice up to 12 hours a day.  

Francisco soon excelled and at age 11, he made his first public appearance on Radio Algeciras.  The next year, he won a special prize in the Jerez flamenco competition.  In 1961, Francisco toured with the flamenco troupe of dancer Jose Greco.  He then met Ricardo Modrego in 1964 and recorded three albums with him:   Dos guitarras flamencas, Dos guitarras flamencas en stereo, and Doce canciones de Federico Garcia Lorca para guitarra.  Between 1968 and 1977, Paco recorded 10 albums together with Flamenco singer Cameron de la Isla.  De Lucia made a cameo appearance in the 1971 western Hannie Caulder.

In 1976, de Lucia released Almoraima, which featured the title track and "Rio Ancho", the latter covered by many other guitarists including Al DiMeola.  In 1979, de Lucia joined John McLaughlin and Larry Coryell to form The Guitar Trio.  They toured Europe and released a video that was recorded at the Royal Albert Hall on London--Meeting of the Spirits.  Coryell was later replaced by DiMeola and the new lineup has recorded three albums.  

In 1995, de Lucia recorded "Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman" with Bryan Adams for the movie Don Juan DeMarco.

De Lucia has tremendous dexterity, technique and strength in his right hand, capable of playing extremely fast and fluent picados, a technique in which the guitarist plays scale passages by alternating the index and middle fingers.  

The University of Cadiz in Paco's hometown recognized his musical and cultural contributions by giving him the title of Doctor Honoris Causa on March 23, 2007.  De Lucia won the 2004 Prince of Asturias Award in Arts  and in 2010, was awarded an honorary doctorate by Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.

De Lucia is lightning fast, sometimes at the expense of melody.  But he is great at what he does, and certainly deserves to be ranked high.  Paco comes in at #22 for the Rock Era*...

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